Non-toxic fire coating ‘takes dioxins out of passenger seats’

A non-toxic fire retardant treatment for seats and cabin furnishings will make evacuation of planes and trains easier and safer, its manufacturers claim.

Airline and train contents are currently treated with chemicals containing bromine and antimony to prevent items burning in a fire. Toxic by-products are produced during manufacture and the retardants also release poisonous chemicals such as dioxins while resisting flame.

But Firestop has developed a bromine and non-dioxin forming treatment, originally developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences. This, it said, releases no toxic chemicals during a fire, as well as producing less smoke, which improves visibility during evacuation.

The coating can be used to treat fabrics including cotton, cotton polyester, linen and wool without affecting their physical properties and can also be washed and dry cleaned without reducing its effectiveness, the company said.

The chemical consists of a polymer that coats the material. The polymer contains phosphorus to help the substance to burn and produce an instant protective char coating.

This stops the treated material breaking down and releasing flammable gases that feed flames. However, this process does not produce heat or a flash of flame. The product is now being developed for commercial use with the help of UK firm Flintstone and should be commercially available next year.

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